The Joe Meek Society

AGM minutes 2020-2021

A note from the secretary (David Nevols)

This time last year we were all just getting to grips with the limitations to our freedom due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The Society’s plans were not exempt resulting in the short notice cancellation of our AGM and evenings entertainment at The George, Newent on the 4th April 2020. Optimistically, we hoped that restrictions would be short lived, but as we all know now, they were not. This led to the further cancellation of this years AGM and event, again due to have taken place at The George, on the 5th April 2021.

With some light now appearing at the end of what has been a very long tunnel, it is with much hope that we can soon return to a new normal and that a proper AGM, and event, can be held in 2022. A provisional date of Saturday 2nd April 2022 has been pencilled in, but not yet fully confirmed. Until then, our activities will probably be confined to our core publication of The Thunderbolt, compiled brilliantly by Rob Bradford (where does he find all that information?) and typeset by Nicola Shilcock, plus the wealth of information available on our website. Further electronic news and entertainment has been achieved through a Herculean effort by Craig Newton in populating the Video library and more recently some superb on-line DJ sessions hosted by Pete and Shy Rochford.

Getting back to administrative matters, we do need to complete a summary of the Society’s performance during the past year in order to satisfy our constitutional requirements, so the following is submitted as a quazi set of minutes.

These are all factual reports and there are no items included which would have required members to vote on, other than for their acceptance. Should any member wish to take issue with any of the points recorded, I would be happy to hear from them.

Despite advertising for items for discussion on our social media sites and website, no such items had been received prior to the AGM date. Further, no nominations for committee membership had been received and with all our current personnel expressing their acceptance to continue, the Committee will remain the same.

We will catch up on other matters, such as the Hall of Fame nominations, when we next get together.

The following Committee reports have been submitted for information.

Report by the Chairman. (Pete Rochford)

Annual General Meeting 2020 – 2021

Firstly, may I take this opportunity to send everyone my sincere thanks and gratitude for all the support given to the Joe Meek Society over the past 12 very difficult months due to the covid-19 pandemic. No one could’ve predicted any of this and our sincere condolences go out to all those people who have been affected or has lost a loved one during this dreadful period.

The Society and its meetings, plus live entertainments has sadly been affected yet again this year however, we all must do what is necessary and keep to the guidelines. Frustrating as it is, we will all be back I’m sure next year for the Society AGM in Newent which will hopefully remain, being the same line up of acts as we advertised in both 2020 and 2021, obviously as we all know, time can change things but I am confident that all our live acts will perform for us.

Back in early lockdown 2020, just before our AGM was scheduled to go ahead, I received contact from the Newent Town Council regarding my siting request for the statue of Joe Meek, I was informed that no such further dealings would go ahead regarding the actual siting of the statue due to the severe concerns of the pandemic outbreak and that only important matters will be dealt with until further notice (understandable) and that any further communication will continue in due course, this, I was fully aware of and held back on all contact.

The siting of the statue was a great concern as the Valero statue was battling against Joe for the best place in the Market Square. Since all of this, I have received information from the Town Council stating that the Valero horse statue has now been granted and now sited on the actual spot outside Joe’s birthplace which is where I had requested back in 2017. The state of play as it now stands is that both myself and the Town Council have to agree on a site, my thoughts on this now are that maybe the statue could be sited on the library grounds which faces No1 High Street, Joe’s former family home and shop. I am currently waiting for contact so that I can hear what other suggestions they have as regards the siting plot, one suggestion they put forward was next to Newent Lake, I know Joe had connections with the lake having sat there song writing but I fear that that statue will be open to vandalism so I will push for the library grounds if there is no other space in the Market Square.

In the meantime, the Council has agreed to my other project that I put to them on 17th August 2020 and it was given the go ahead on the 25th August 2020, which is a bust of Joe Meek that is being made by the same sculptor as the statue. I thought that a bust would be a filler gap while we all wait for Joe’s statue, obviously the statue will have to be publicly funded via ‘Go Fund Me’ or PayPal. However, the bust will be fully financed by myself and will be donated to the Newent Market House, so at least there will be some kind of remembrance figure outside and very close to Joe’s birthplace.

In October 2020, the news came in direct to myself stating that the Tea Chest tapes had been bought by Cherry Red Records, I was absolutely gobsmacked as you can imagine. The Joe Meek Society has been waiting for this news for over 30 years and to be the chairman to receive this call was very exciting, obviously this project is of great interest to the Society, it’s members, former recording artistes and all music enthusiasts around the world. 

The project will be an ongoing one which will take up many many hours of work, most of which by Alan Wilson who has the very hard task of the transfer and restoration of the tapes, all of this comes with ultimate confidence that Alan will plough through this project with the expertise that he has and having just recently been informed that Rob Bradford has now been officially appointed the job of deciphering, I wish them both all the very best of luck with the huge task ahead.

More good news came in regarding the JMS Radio Library which Craig Newton has brilliantly put together and is constantly updating. Being JMS members, you’ll see that we decided to limit the information on our website. This, as you’ll appreciate gives our members the exclusive rights to view the vintage footage, interviews etc, before non-members. This puts our valid members first and gives priority in the hope that this will create more interest and members so that we can continue to build on the Society and its progress in the future. The more financial stability we have, the more we can put into our live entertainments’ nights on AGM days plus we’ll never rule out ‘new’ merchandise. So, a very big thank you to Craig who is doing superb job with the library, we salute you.

Back in February 2021, we received the very sad news that Chris Knight had passed away. Chris was one of the co-founders of the original Joe Meek Appreciation Society that was founded just hours after Joe had died on February 3rd 1967. Chris Knight and Jim Blake got together and decided to visit all the junk shops, second hand shops in the Holloway Road area searching for vinyl records so they could get the Society up and running. During the 1970’s, Chris was also responsible for guiding John Repsch to write his ‘Legendary Joe Meek’ biography, Chris helped John with a vast amount of information and helped John along in the early stages of the book. If not for Chris’s input and interest in Joe, would we have all the interest today? 

Chris Knight’s death wasn’t announced until early March and the cause of his death is unknown (to me) at this time. We, the Joe Meek Society pass on our love and sincere condolences to his wife Janet and all of his family – God bless.

On the morning of 9th April 2021, I woke up to the very sad news that another former RGM recording artiste Ian Gregory had passed away, his wife Lynda passed on the news to me stating that Ian had been struggling with a bad chest infection and he passed away at 06:45 on the morning of 8th April.

Ian had a short singing career with Joe from 1960 to 1962, starting out on Joe’s Triumph label but when Triumph collapsed, Joe took Ian with him along with his early recordings and released them on the PYE label.

In later life, Ian built up his own sculpture and ceramic business in Dorchester, Dorset making fine works of art but over the past few months, Ian’s health was failing and although his wife Lynda kept me updated, I always sent our best wishes to Ian via Lynda.

We, the Joe Meek Society pass on our loving thoughts and condolences to Lynda and all of Ian & Lynda’s family at this very sad and difficult time. God bless Mr Lovebug.

My thanks and appreciation go out to each and everyone who gave me great support on my first LIVE MEEK DJ set on Joe’s birthday (5th April). I was overwhelmed to see that it had reached over 1,000 people, there were people from Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, USA, Mexico and obviously the UK who gave us good conversation, requests and funny banter along the way. The live feed was an idea that my good lady wife Shyirra had suggested back in February as I was live DJ-ing my Rock’n’Roll sets on facebook so a set on Joe’s birthday would be a great idea. The set over ran its hour and ended up being a 2 hour session. I received good positive feedback requesting a part II which I will put together and most likely has taken place by the time you read this. Many many kind thanks for all your support and as we cannot meet in Newent this year, a live DJ set is something better than nothing and hoping I can continue these live sessions on facebook for the foreseeable.

And finally…

I want to continue to say a very special ‘thank you’ to all of our valid members of the Joe Meek Society. I am aware our members are all over the world and support us with great enthusiasm, your regular input into the Thunderbolt magazine and of course our facebook group is very much appreciated by us all. If your membership is due to expire, please renew asap as your support is so important in playing a vital part in helping us to keep Joe’s name and music alive for not only ourselves but for our future generations.

A personal ‘thank you’ go to all our committee members David Nevols, Rob Humphreys, Craig Newton, Rob Bradford, Steve Nash, Andy Knott, Nicola Shilcock, Darren Vidler and Paul Moy for all their continued hard work, support and all the hours put in behind the scenes of the Society, your valid support and loyalty continues with recognition, I personally ‘thank’ you all and look forward to the next 12 months working alongside you all.

Keep safe and take care everyone, we will be back in Newent soon.

Pete Rochford

JMS Chairman

Presentation of the annual accounts by the Treasurer (David Nevols)

A summary of the years financial activity is shown below and gives a full 12 month period. Comparative figures are also shown for the previous 12 months (2019-2020).

The finances of the Society are quite straight forward with our income being derived from membership subscriptions, donations and various merchandise sales, against our expenditure being mainly printing, postage and some admin expenses. You will notice that this years retained (closing) balance is virtually the same as last years, an indication that we remain in good shape with all our expenses paid as and when they fall due.

With many thanks to our printers, Catford Print in South East London, our printing costs have remained fairly stable but one increase in expenditure which is always out of our control is the postage. In their annual cost increases, the Post Office have raised UK rates for the Thunderbolt by 13p per issue and 40p each for both European and Worldwide. For the time being, these increases can be absorbed meaning that all subscription rates can remain unchanged this year. An excellent outcome meaning that, I think, membership fees have remained unchanged for about 10 years. Not bad eh!

I would like to thank all the committee for their help and support during the year, especially Pete, Andy and Rob Humphreys with whom I have the most contact.

A big thank you also to you, our members for your ongoing support. Things are set to get very exciting soon with the release of information and material contained in the Tea Chest Tapes. Something that I, and maybe many others, thought would never happen.

David Nevols. Treasurer

Membership Secretary’s report 2021 (Andy Knott)

Last year was a particularly trying one for everyone what with lockdowns and restrictions in place affecting every aspect of our normal existence.

However, amid all the doom and gloom towards the end of the year came the news that the society had been wanting to hear for over thirty years and this was the momentous revelation that Joe’s legendary ‘T-Chest Tapes’ had been acquired by Cherry Red Records from Cliff Cooper, who had them stored for so long but unable to do anything with them for various reasons.

Whilst this news did see an increase in new members (and a few returning ones), the upsurge has not been as large as one might have expected, the result is that we have gained 45 new and re-joining members since this time last year and the vast majority of these are Digital Subscribers.

As previously stated, Joe Meek is very much a niche area for music lovers, and I do not expect this to change very much as we go forward but there is the possibility that once Cherry Red begin to release the material from the tapes then we could see more people taking an interest in Joe and his music which we would very much welcome.

Although I’m not on Facebook, I understand that it attracts a high number of visits to the Joe Meek page so it may be that once the T-Chest music is released, some of those visitors will consider membership of the society.

January 1st saw an almost 10% rise in all postal costs which is most unwelcome so it may be inevitable in the future that a subs increase is likely as these costs will NOT be going down.

I am happy to report that membership currently stands at 245 of which 41 are Digital Subscribers so most members still prefer to receive the printed copy of the Thunderbolt.

It is unfortunate that once again we have had to postpone the AGM due to the restrictions, but it is important to give thanks and respect to the committee members who continue to keep the society going and, for a couple of them, doing so in the most trying of circumstances.

In conclusion, as ever, my thanks go to those who always send a little ‘extra’ with their subs each time to help with society funds and this is very much appreciated and to the members who make this all worthwhile.

Andy Knott – Membership Secretary.


Webmasters report (Rob Humphreys)

As far as the website goes it has been a quieter than usual year in the
way of news – not surprising really as we have just finished the first
year of the pandemic.   However, the news about the Tea Chest Tapes
coupled with Craig Newton’s hard work in uploading the Radio Library and
other videos to our very own Channel on Vimeo has created a lot of
interest and new members. The website is now fully protected from anyone
who does not register and all current members have been invited to
register. New members paying online will be automatically registered.

We now have an all-time high of digital members: 41. Number of members
registered for website access: 173.

Rob Humphreys – Webmaster